Pre-customer retention marketing

The power of retention marketing–marketing to past customers–is a well documented fact. It is far less expensive to retain a customer than to attract a new one. But what about pre-customer retention marketing?

Like its more popular cousin, pre-customer retention marketing involves staying in front of the consumer. It means reminding him what you have to offer and that you want his business.

Many consumers begin shopping for a product or service long before they are ready to buy. They want to learn about their options, the possible costs, and which companies might best meet their needs. The Internet has made this increasingly easy.

Let’s say that Bob plans to buy a new widget in about six months and hops on the Internet to do some research. He comes across your web site, finds your information useful, and intends to contact you when he is ready to buy. But will he? He could easily forget about your company in the meantime.

But what if you offered Bob a free report that provided Bob with an abundance of information about your product and company? And what if you then emailed him once a month with more useful information and tips. Do you think that he would forget about you when it comes time to buy?

Technology makes this very easy and inexpensive to do. In exchange for your free report Bob must give you his email address. You then use auto-responders to send him an email once a month. You can use a service like AWeber to automate the entire process. The result is that you are marketing to Bob before he has ever called you or bought from you.

This very targeted marketing. The low cost and ease of set up means that very few sales must result for it to be profitable. And that’s a good thing.

Give it to make it

It is often said that business owners must spend money to make money. You must invest money in inventory, supplies, advertising, and countless other things before you can even open your door for business. And you must continue to do so.

An often overlooked corollary is giving up something to make money. In this instance, the “something” is information.

To some extent most small business owners do this. They share information with consumers regarding their products and services with the intention of educating the customer. But there is an aspect of this that is often overlooked and under utilized.

Harvey Segal explains this in his free e-book, The Ultimate SuperTip. In fact, he does more than simply explain it–the book itself is a demonstration of this powerful marketing strategy.

Giving away information can be a very effective method for differentiating your business, developing trust and confidence, and “pre-selling” your products or services. For example, in an e-book you can offer tips on product selection, explain the benefits of various options, and position your company as the expert. And this can be done without high-pressure tactics via an e-book.

We live in the Information Age. The Internet, cable television, and many other resources make it easier than ever for consumers to obtain information on the products and services they desire. By giving your customers more information you help them make better purchasing decisions. And that is good for you.

Click here to download The Ultimate SuperTip and learn how to give it to make it.


Written by Joseph Heller, Catch-22 has become a catch phrase for a situation in which no reasonable alternative exists. In the book, a pilot who wishes to be dismissed from a combat mission must be diagnosed as insane. However, a request for a sanity evaluation would demonstrate that the pilot was indeed sane. Thus, the pilot would never receive the required diagnosis.

Small business owners often put themselves in a similar situation. I hear many owners declare that they do not have the money to spend on advertising. Yet without advertising they will not generate customers, and without customers they cannot obtain the funds to advertise.

On the surface this may seem like an insolvable problem. And it is if one looks at it from the typical viewpoint. But if one thinks “out of the box” there are several inexpensive and effective alternatives.

When I first began my business I invested $20 into advertising. I had fliers printed and hand delivered them myself. When I didn’t have a job, my job was to hand out fliers. It wasn’t fun, but it worked.

Contacting past customers is also inexpensive and effective. A short letter, a hand written note, or even a phone call will remind past customers of your company. A phone call costs nothing, except a little time.

Signage on your vehicle can also be inexpensive. I recently purchased 2 magnetic signs for less than $30. These provide continual exposure where ever you go.

Advertising is a necessary component of building a successful business. You can invest money or you can invest time, but you must invest in advertising. While no advertising will produce guaranteed results, the results of not advertising are certain.

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